THE Queen has a secret weapon. One that is almost stealth-like, very much under the radar, but has proved to be fail-safe.
Well, you might be surprised to know that it’s Prince Edward’s wife Sophie Wessex, and the Queen is about to deploy her to help Meghan get back on track.
The Queen is said to be concerned that the post-honeymoon and baby bounce achieved by Harry and Meghan has all but evaporated[/caption]
Prince Edward’s wife Sophie Wessex has apparently been earmarked by the Queen to help Meghan regain and retain her popularity[/caption]
By all accounts Her Maj is concerned that the post-honeymoon and baby bounce achieved by Harry and Meghan has all but evaporated and she’s particularly worried about the criticism aimed at Meghan as she continues to paddle her own canoe.
I have a lot of sympathy for Meghan. She had no previous experience of the stifled, stilted world inhabited by the royals and their courtiers.
I don’t think for a nano-second she wakes up mischievously thinking up ways to shock hardcore royal fans and annoy the Press and palace old guard. I believe she genuinely wants to be a force for good, but has inevitably made some mistakes along the way.
Cutting off ties with her dad, spending a fortune on her new house, demanding privacy while at the same time editing Vogue magazine, have all generated negative headlines which could so easily have been avoided.
And that’s where Sophie Wessex comes in.
You might not hear much about Sophie, and she’s often dismissed as being rather dull and insignificant. Yet behind the scenes, where it really matters, she wields a lot of power and influence. Not least because the Queen adores her and also recognises her qualities of loyalty and duty.
Sophie, who has been married to Prince Edward for 20 years, is seen as a safe pair of hands, and she and Meghan actually have a lot in common.
They both had careers before becoming members of the royal family; Sophie worked in PR and Meghan was an actress.
Also, Sophie’s children, 15-year-year old Louise, and James, who is 11, weren’t brought up as prince and princess and have largely been kept out of the public eye.
Meghan and Harry have also opted not to give their little boy Archie a title, and have vowed he will have as normal a life as possible.
There have, of course, been bumps along the way for Sophie. In 2001 she was caught on tape making ill- advised remarks about members of the Royal Family and senior politicians. It caused a scandal though it died down quickly.
It does mean, however, that Sophie has been through her own media backlash and come out the other side, which I think means her advice for Meghan will be even more valuable.
So it makes a lot of sense for Sophie to take Meghan under her wing. But should this not have been done even before the engagement announcement, rather than being seen as a damage limitation exercise? That’s when Sophie’s wise counsel could have been most effective.
Meghan had a baptism of fire and already had to deal with the pressures of a royal wedding and pregnancy in the full glare of the public eye before she gave birth to baby Archie.
Baby Archie gave Meghan a boost, but recent times have seen a return to more negative headlines[/caption]
Meghan was a massive hit when she went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Harry, so clearly has the potential to be a huge asset for the royal family[/caption]
It can’t have been easy and she has such a lot to offer. She truly shines when she meets the public, especially at events for charities she is passionate about.
She was a massive hit when she went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Harry and clearly has the potential to be a huge royal asset.
That’s the Meghan we all want to see and celebrate.
Both she and Harry just need to listen to others who have their best interests at heart, and who could prevent them making gaffes by gently pointing out the consequences of their actions, however well meaning they may be.
I realise it would be very difficult for any woman to turn down the chance to edit Vogue or to have her own fashion line, but these sort of high-profile projects will obviously attract a lot of attention, and not all of it will be positive.
For example, there was no way she was having a pop at sister-in-law Kate, a previous Vogue cover girl, when Meghan said she didn’t want to be on the front page be- cause it felt like showing off.
Unfortunately that is how her remarks were interpreted. I know she will find it upsetting and frustrating but it’s inevitable when you put yourself in such a vulnerable position.
It’s the same for Harry. His declaration (in his wife’s edition of Vogue) that they have decided to have only two children in order to save the planet, was perceived as a dig at his brother Prince William, who of course has three kids.
Again, I don’t believe that even entered Harry’s mind. He was making a statement about his own future, but when you give candid interviews like that, there is always a danger your words will be taken out of context or misrepresented.
The answer, if you are a royal, is not to do them.
It is a very weird life where you can live in opulent homes, wear the finest clothes, eat the best food and people keep giving you stuff for nothing even though you can afford it.
Meghan demanding privacy while at the same time editing Vogue magazine proved to be another own goal for the Duchess[/caption]
Spending a fortune on her new house hasn’t helped Meghan regain her popularity[/caption]
You change your hairstyle and it’s front-page news, and you turn up to open a ball bearing factory on a drizzly day and crowds of people wave flags and cheer.
The price you pay is everything you say and do is reported upon and endlessly discussed, and you can’t turn that attention on and off.
It means that when Meghan and Harry visit Africa and quite rightly highlight their conservation work, they will receive positive coverage, but in return they will be expected to give the Press at least some access to their private lives and now and again pose for family photos.
If that is unacceptable, they will have to rethink their future.
Meghan should listen to Sophie, who has built a life as part of the Royal Family, won the Queen’s respect and still has a private life for herself and her children. Proving that it can happily be done.
And that’s surely what we want for Meghan and Harry.
Hugh’s ripped for dip
FORGET Mr Darcy emerging from that lake to give Elizabeth palpitations in Pride And Prejudice.
Dismiss Daniel Craig as Bond coming out of the sea in his scanties.
Forget Poldark or Bond, undisputed ‘Damp Hunk’ title goes to the one and only Hugh Jackman[/caption]
And erase all memories of Ross Poldark skinny-dipping in his Cornish cove.
This week we have to hand over the crown of undisputed “Damp Hunk” to the one and only Hugh Jackman, who was photographed taking a dip in the waves of Australia’s Bondi Beach.
The 50-year-old is due to perform his mega hit extravaganza “The Man. The Music. The Show” in Australia, but still found time to gladden our hearts and make the world a better place – and to set the bar impossibly high for all future beach boys.
ROBERT DE NIRO’S BAKING . . .
NETFLIX has just released a trailer for its new Scorsese mob movie starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
I watched it almost right up until the end, before it dawned on me that it wasn’t actually an advert for Warburton’s.
She’s Jes perfect
JESY NELSON is gorgeous. She’s also funny, feisty, hard working and hugely talented.
As a member of Little Mix, she has millions of fans all over the world. Many of them are young girls who look up to her and dream of being just like her.
So I was saddened to learn that last year Jesy was brought so low by online trolls she actually thought of herself as “the fat one from Little Mix”.
I really think these ants with megaphones who abuse successful women like Jesy should be named and shamed.
They are utterly vile and if they can make a talented, wealthy, popular woman like Jesy feel worthless, you can only imagine the affect their cruel words have on shy, insecure young girls.
Jesy has bounced back after making a documentary about body image and online abuse for the BBC and says she has rediscovered her inner confidence and no longer feels unattractive.
I’m so glad to hear it.
Jesy should be enjoying her hard-won success and I hope her story will help other girls to realise that trolls are pitiful, pathetic parasites.
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Ru role’s a delight
I’M beyond excited to confirm that I will be part of one of the best shows on TV when Ru Paul’s Drag Race comes to the UK next month.
Ru has brought together a clutch of entertaining, bitchy, vulnerable, big hearted, home-grown queens, all vying to be the first British Drag Superstar.
If you’ve never seen the show you are in for a huge treat. It’s hilariously funny, but also at times deeply moving as the boys open up about their struggles overcoming prejudice and bigotry.
Above all, though, it is HUGELY entertaining and worth watching just to see how utterly fabulous Ru Paul looks in drag.
I’m going to be playing the infamous “Snatch Game” which is a bit like a raunchy version of Blankety Blank but with all the guys imitating characters we love. I just hope I have enough charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to fit in.